"Bayou Bill" Scifres
Dedicated to the conservation and enjoyment of Indiana's natural resources
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Voice Your Opinion On Captive Deer Hunting
Copyright © 2004 by Bill Scifres

However you may view the practice of hunting "captive" deer in fenced areas (pens), you owe it to yourself to voice your opinion in the framework of a public meeting of the "Cervid Council" January 17 at Fort Harrison State Park.
Members of the blue-ribbon committee studying the practice of hunting deer in pens (however large the pens may be) have agreed only to disagree on most facets of the problem, but they will listen to input of the public at 11:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. in the upcoming session.
Having watched the legislature and the farm-lobby monster for roughly half a century, I doubt that anything panel members agree upon will mean a whit in final lawmaking action. But if you have an opinion on the matter, you should give it voice by attending the meeting. If you can't attend the meeting, voice your opinion by e-mail:  cerviccouncil@DNR.state, or by conventional mail: Cervid Council, Division of Fish and Wildlife, 402 West Washington Street, Indianapolis, IN 46204.
In the past, when proponents of deer-pen hunting have tried to ramrod this shoddy practice through the legislature, and to usurp the authority of the Department of Natural Resources to manage wildlife, it was generally agreed that such enclosures should have a fence eight feet high to keep the penned deer and the wild deer separated. But even people from their own camp will tell you an eight-foot fence will not thwart ingress/egress of a white-tail deer. Eight-foot fences are the norm for such facilities today.
With this thought in mind, it would seem that the height of the deer pen fence would be a key issue--and that eight feet is woefully short.
Frankly, I have never believed government--any government--is charged with the responsibility of telling a land or business owner how to run his/her business. But I feel just as strongly that government is charged with managing OUR wildlife (wildlife belongs to we, the people). If  land or business owners are endangering our wildlife, government (in this case the Department of Natural Resources) should rule.
I also believe that without regard to height of fences, wild deer (our deer outside the enclosures in question) will be lured to said enclosures by the "promise" of ready supplies of food. You don't have to put up signs to guide wild critters to food sources.
With the possibility of wild and imported deer intermingling in the confines of the slaughter enclosures (oops, deer-pen hunting facilities), it would seem that the DNR should be specifically empowered to require that deer-pen operators clearly mark their imported deer with a tattoo (not a tag, but a tattoo). Operators of such enclosures should be required to register imported animals when they are released in the enclosure. Every deer taken at such a commercialized facility should be checked on the spot by a conservation officer to determine ownership (theirs or ours). Proponents of deer-pen hunting emphasize that they have no desire to exploit our wild deer. Talk is cheap, let them prove it.


Seasons on both ducks and geese have ended in the state's North Zone (roughly the northern third of the state), but seasons on ducks will remain open through January 13 in the South Zone and January 18 in the Ohio River Zone.

Seasons on Canada geese will remain open through January 31 in both South and Ohio River zones.
Coupled with heavy rains over the weekend, this means the two forks of White River will offer some very good floating jump-shooting for waterfowl before the seasons close.
Best bets will be south of Martinsville on the west fork of the White, and downstream from Seymour on the east fork.

Flooded corn and soybean fields will offer some good shooting over decoys for those who do some scouting to learn where the birds are feeding.
Floating rivers or streams in times of high water can be very dangerous. All safety precautions--especially the WEARING of a life preserver--should be taken.

All columns, essays, and photos are copyrighted by Bill Scifres and may not be reproduced in any form without prior permission from the author.  For reproduction permission and media usage fees, contact: Bill Scifres, 6420 East 116th Street, Fishers, IN 46038, E-mail: billscifres@aol.com

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